Back in the summer, Another Sky released one of my favourite albums of the year – the debut I Slept on the Floor. Now, as we enter stricter lockdown restrictions and the cold winter months, we are treated to another EP, released on January 1st with a suitably melancholy and occasionally uplifting tone that resonates in a beautiful and heartbreaking way.
The E.P. kicks off with Pieces – the sparse, emotion tinged guitar captures the mood of the slow, sadness tainted vocals before slowly growing and expanding, the band adding layers of depth and power as the vocals become harder-edged, almost angry, conflicted, and defiant before we get a hint of acceptance at the end of the song as Catrin Vincent sings ‘Pieces of Me…’, softly with fragility yet somehow more assured of themselves over until the end.
Sunseeker follows this, slowly growing in power and depth so proficiently it’s upon you before you’ve realised it’s happened. At Catrin sings ‘You caught me broken, you were wrong, A bird in your cage, put my white feathers on’ you feel like you are being taken on a journey, a story of rebirth and growth, self-discovery, and underlying optimism where you are in control of your own destiny. The orchestral undercurrent and perfectly pitched percussion give this song a satisfying dreamlike quality.
The soft, chiming piano and textural guitar, bass and synths really invoke a sense of isolation during Leaving the Lighthouse, a song that deserves your attention as you get lost in the beautiful soundscape painted with instruments and voice. I first listened to this while reading Matt Haig’s book Ther Midnight Library, and lyrically I felt there was many parallels with that book – someone struggling to hold onto the light, not knowing which way to turn. Beautiful, sad, short – and yet maybe my favourite track on the E.P.
Blood Love continues the sombre mood, less textural but no less powerful with each instrument given space, and room to breathe around Catrin’s voice as she sings out ‘A bystander stood in your own life, That felt lost before it was’ invoking the feelings of lonliness and the impossible pressures you put upon yourself to be what others want of you, not what you want for yourself. Whether this relates to the career you have chosen, the type of partner you are, your sexuality or the parent you want to be I think most people can relate in some way having to conform to someone elses ideal and trying to find themselves after becoming lost in their own mind.
Was I Unkind starts off as a song about a humble flower growing on a window sill, but this simple idea soon becomes an analogy for something much more powerful about love and nurture. We grow strong while we are remembered and given the attention we need, but the plant pot can soon become a prison, and without attention will soon wither and die, much like our own sense of self as we withdraw through a lack of stimulation.
It keeps coming picks the tempo back up, building into a cocophony of sound ending the e.p. like the ending of a book – bringing a fantastic 22 minutes of music to a conclusion – but is by no means the end of the story.
One of the first releases of the year, one moment delicate, almost fragile before building into a beautiful sonic landscape that really creates a truly emotional experience. Pieces and Sunseeker provide a more instant fix with their more epic sound, but for me, the beauty of this EP is in its quieter starker moments of minimalist beauty where Music for Winter Vol. 1 truly earns its title, where it finds beauty in the darkest of moments and I can’t wait to see how the band follow this up.
Photo Credit: Ella Brolly